- Miranda v. Arizona
(1966) U.S. Supreme Court decision that specified a code of conduct for police during interrogations of criminal suspects.Miranda established that the police are required to inform arrested persons that they have the right to remain silent, that anything they say may be used against them, and that they have the right to an attorney. The case involved a claim by the plaintiff that the state of Arizona, by obtaining a confession from him without having informed him of his right to have a lawyer present, had violated his rights under the Fifth Amendment regarding self-incrimination. The 5-to-4 decision shocked the law-enforcement community; several later decisions limited the scope of the Miranda safeguards. See also rights of the accused.
* * *▪ law case384 U.S. 436 (1966), U.S. Supreme Court case which resulted in a ruling that specified a code of conduct for police interrogations of criminal suspects held in custody. Chief Justice Earl Warren (Warren, Earl), writing for the five-to-four majority of the justices, ruled that the prosecution may not use statements made by a person under questioning in police custody unless certain minimum procedural safeguards were followed. The court established new guidelines to ensure “that the individual is accorded his privilege under the Fifth Amendment” not to be compelled to incriminate himself. Known as the Miranda warnings, these guidelines include informing arrested persons prior to questioning that they have the right to remain silent, that anything they say may be used against them as evidence, and that they have the right to the counsel of an attorney.The Miranda decision was one of the most controversial decisions of the Warren Court, which under Chief Justice Warren had become increasingly concerned about the methods used by local police to obtain confessions. In an earlier (1964) case, Escobedo v. Illinois, 378 U.S. 478, the court had ruled that criminal suspects must be advised of their right to consult an attorney. But that decision had failed to specify the precise procedures police must follow to ensure that the suspect's rights in this regard are not violated.In Miranda v. Arizona the court reversed an Arizona court's conviction of Ernesto Miranda on charges of kidnapping and rape. After being identified in a police lineup, Miranda had been questioned by police; he confessed and then signed a written statement without first being told that he had the right to have a lawyer present to advise him or that he had the right to remain silent. Miranda's confession was later used at his trial to obtain his conviction. The court held that the prosecution could not use his statements obtained by the police while the suspect was in custody unless the police had complied with several procedural safeguards to secure the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.The Miranda ruling shocked the law-enforcement community and was hotly debated. Critics of the Miranda decision said that the court, in seeking to protect the rights of individuals, had seriously weakened law-enforcement agencies. Under Chief Justice Warren Burger, a more conservative Supreme Court later issued several decisions that limited the scope of the Miranda safeguards.
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